CORPORATIONS: Winner Take All

At Fairchild Engine & Aircraft Corp.'s plant in Hagerstown, Md., Chairman J. Carlton Ward Jr., 56, last week called his stockholders' meeting to order. Thin and grey as a timber wolf, Ward seemed calm, but he had good reason to be nervous. Before him sat Sherman M. Fairchild, 53, the company's founder and onetime president, who had come to Hagerstown sworn to kick Ward out.

It was a situation full of irony. In 1939, when Inventor Fairchild wanted to float $800,000 worth of financing for his company, bankers insisted that he bring in...

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